When Sir Paul McCartney wrote the song “The Long & Winding Road” it is a good bet he was not singing about a road trip. But the tune came to mind this weekend for us as the title somehow seemed appropriate. “Why?” you ask. The band had to travel from San Antonio to North Dallas (Irving – Las Colinas) to perform at Cool River Café on Friday January 13, 2006 and then travel to Ft. Smith AR to perform a fund raiser the next evening and then back to San Antonio on Sunday making it a very long and winding road trip.

When we walked in the door of Cool River Café in Las Colinas we found the place packed wall to wall. Parking was very difficult and we had to park far down the street. Mack and the rest of the crew were still working trying to complete the setup of the gear as a result of truck trouble. Running out of fuel can have that affect, you know. Currently the venue does not have enough power to handle our lighting and our new P.A. system but it is a temporary situation as the club is making plans to upgrade the available electricity. Our amp rack was distorting as it was starved for more voltage but we made it work and got the crowd into things early. The first song we performed was our version of “Time” by Pink Floyd, bringing people out on the dance floor right off the bat and the dance floor stayed busy all night long. Thanks to some good friends, Alan and Kim, Ed and Patty, John and Abby, and David Hilario just to name a few and we not only had a ton of people in the place but a lot of friends there as well. At the end of the night we all stayed and helped the crew tear down the gear and load it all in the truck so we could get some sleep before the long trek to Arkansas . The management at Cool River Café was very pleased and we look forward to returning. We went and got something to eat as most of us had yet to have dinner. We got to bed at 4:40 a.m.

After about three and a half hours of sleep, we departed the Marriott hotel around 9 am and headed to Ft. Smith and arrived a little after 3 pm. The event was afund raiser for the Western Arkansas Tennis Association and this year's chairperson was Kim Cox. She was a tad nervous awaiting the band but rightly so as we would normally be there a bit earlier than we were if not for the long drive but also as this was her first time to chair the event. We all pitched in setting up in an hour and a half, and had time to go to the Holiday Inn and shower before the show. This event was planned perfectly, and we couldn't have hoped for a better night. The food was awesome. The crowd was very responsive and even the auction was entertaining thanks to the fun personality of “Rossi” the emcee. We felt like rock stars from the very first song to the last. It's a good bet that the band will be asked to return for the event next year. We had so much fun. The drive home however, was a different story!

The band rented a Nissan X-Terra for this very long road trip rather than the normal Toyota Camry and we felt every bump in the road making it an excruciatingly long 9 hour drive back home. We made jokes about it all the while, like “It's called a Nissan, because your (knees on) the dash”. Ed remarked it should be renamed X-Terra-ble, and then I added my two cents “They should replace the V in SUV with an X making it a SUX!” Needless to say we didn't enjoy the ride, and for all you readers that own a Nissan X-Terra you have our deepest sympathy.

We arrived home close to mid-night on Sunday and after all the troubles we had on this long and winding road trip I quickly realized that the first thing I told my family wasn't about the difficulty of the trip itself but how great the shows were and how much fun we had as a band – as a team. It's because of you, the people reading this right now, that make what we do worth it. Best wishes from all of us in this New Year.

Bill Caisse

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